GOWEN – Big Rapids’ girls golf team continued to show the way to the top of the Central State Activities Association Tuesday.
The Cardinals shot a team score of 482 to take the conference jamboree hosted by Lakeview at Brookside Golf Course.
Central Montcalm took second with a 501 and Chippewa Hills was third with a 567 score. They were the only conference members that had a full team.
The host Wildcats were one of those that didn’t field a full team, but their state-qualifier golfer, Kylie Stewart, was the match medalist with a 95, four strokes better than Big Rapids’ Ally Burnett.
“She’s been playing very well as of late,” Lakeview coach Dan Willison said of Stewart. “The big difference in her game has been her short game. The better you do around the green the better you’ll score.”
Like any golfer, there’s an area that Stewart has to work on to improve her game, according to Willison.
“I think if she really put it all together she could break through to the 80s,” he said. “She’s been very consistent in the mid to low 90s in the last few weeks. It’s really eliminating a bad hole every 18. (Today) she had an 8 on a par-5. So it’s eliminating big strokes that would happen on one hole. Hopefully that will happen in a state tournament around a good time.”
Central was led by Tawny Graves with a 114.
“Overall Tawny Graves has been showing improvement,” Green Hornet coach Gary Buchholz said. “She’s been averaging 60 so she’s continually dropping. The other girls were having trouble with the greens. I saw a lot of girl three-putt.”
Kyla Bratty and Sophie Villet each shot a 125 for Central.
“Kyla has been my leader all year,” Buchholz said. “She averages 56, and she’s capable of shooting in the 40s and hopefully we’ll see that in the next week or so.”
The other scorer was Samantha Kirk with a 137.
The Cardinals have a big lead when it comes to the CSAA championship, but Buchholz sees a chance for his girls to be better in the future.
“This year is probably not something we’ll happen to see, but I have a young core that if they keep practicing and playing they have a a chance to get better,” he said.
Willison has the opposite problem. He has girls who are somewhat interested in golf, but he doesn’t know if Lakeview will even have a girls golf team next year.
“If I can keep these five girls interested where it’s more than lukewarm interest we’ll keep the program going,” he said. “If they decide not to continue than this may be it. It may be contingent on how much work they put in and how much they want to play.”